The annual Coldest Night of the Year takes place Feb. 24 at Sandhill Winery. - File Photo

Kelowna walkers experience coldest night for homelessness

The Coldest Night of the Year will be held Feb. 24 at Sandhill Winery

While some have a roof over their heads, others are forced to brave the cold.

The third annual Coldest Night of the Year is aiming to spread awareness on the homelessness situation in Kelowna, Feb. 24.

The aim is to raise $40,000 which will go towards Metro Community’s recently purchased food bank on Ellis Street to expand the daytime drop-in space, said executive pastor Jeff Simla, with Metro Community. Last year’s event raised $56,804.

The fundraiser is also getting a little boost this year. The Thomas Alan Budd Foundation is the title sponsor for the event, which takes place at Sandhill Winery.

“It’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start,” said Simla. “This year we have the Thomas Allen Bud Foundation behind us, so that’s been a big boost.”

In a video with Coldest Night, Budd spoke on how he became involved with the fundraiser.

Coldest Night of the Year 2018 – Tom Budd partners with Metro Community from Metro Community on Vimeo.

The one thing I’m really impressed with and catches my attention is when I see a cause that is truly needed by the community, but one where the community itself is really pulling together to make a change,” he said.

With the new building, the aim to expand the daytime drop-in is fill a need in Kelowna’s downtown, where shelters focus on providing beds for overnight stays.

“This event is designed to raise awareness around the homelessness situation in the community so the Coldest Night of the Year, in essence, is getting people out to walk about,” said Simla.“Because Metro works with a lot of the downtown street community, it’s a natural event for us to be a part of.”

“Hope for the hopeless is kind of the mantra of Metro.”

Coldest Night of the Year takes place in more than 100 communities across the country. As of Saturday morning, Feb. 17, the fundraiser has raised 57 per cent of its goal, with 56 walkers and 11 teams. Registration for the event opens at 4 p.m.

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